Great work by my undergraduates, Again!

You’ve heard about how good my undergraduate GIS students are here, here, and here.  Oh yeah, and here and here.    Well, over the last few years my undergraduate students have been working with the campus Department of Horticulture by surveying the Salisbury University campus under the direction of Dr. Dan Harris.  Did you know our beautiful campus is a registered arboretum?  Starting with my student Waverly Thompson two years ago, they surveyed all the trees, sidewalks, sprinkler heads, light poles, pretty much anything you can think of with survey grade instruments.

This past summer Zack Radziewicz, Josh Young, and Lindsey Pinder turned that survey work into a beautiful cartographic product, and yesterday put the map online here.  Zach has an art background (he’s also an awesome GIS student) so that really helped, and Josh has been helping me lead professional workshops in Postgres and Python.  Lindsey is a rising GIS star in our Department, so keep an eye out for more posts about her.

It never ceases to amaze me how good our undergraduate students are here at SU.  I’m proud of the work they do, and so thankful to get to work with them each day.

Great job Waverly, Thompson Zack, Josh, and Lindsey.

P.S. While I was in Korea and Dr. Harris was in Brazil, on their own, these students turned the entire map into a 3D visualization – I’ll post that soon.

New poll: Help me pick my next workshop.

I have had a great time giving live workshops – each one has been sold out, the the reviews have been fantastic (see here and here)

As people have asked me to do more advanced GIS workshops, I thought I’d ask some of you who read my blog what you would be interested in  As a side note, I am starting to put together a two-day Big Data Analytics for GIS workshop.  I will definitely offer that as a class at my University,  but I think I can also boil it down to a 16 hour, two day workshop – does that sound interesting to people?

Anyway, check out the poll, add some comments, and let me know if your community would like me out to give a workshop.

Don’t forget, if you want to learn advanced GIS training on your own time, you can grab one of my video courses here

BMC Spatial SQL Class Survey Results

I think this class has set a standard for quality professional development that will be hard to beat in the future. – Mara Kaminowitz, GISP, GIS Coordinator.

Easily one of the best workshops I have ever attended.  Sam Stanton, GIS Coordinator, Queen Anne’s County Information Technology.


I had a great time at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, leading a workshop on Spatial SQL using SQLite and SpatiaLite – thank you to Mara Kaminowitz for organizing it!  There were 25 people in attendance, and I just received the evaluations.  To cut to the chase, you can see the evaluation results here.

But, for the high level view, here is what people thought:

  1. Over 95% said the workshop was better than other GIS training they received.
  2. On a scale of 1-10, 95% of the attendees rated the course an 8 or above.
  3. 95% said they learned something new in the workshop.
  4. 100% said the workshops would help them in their careers.
  5. 87% said they would apply these skills to their job.

I decided to throw one curve-ball on the evaluation sheet and asked:


This was a half-day workshop. Most one-day GIS training classes cost around $600/day. If we developed other in-depth full-day workshops on topics like this for under $250, how likely would you be to participate in it?

It turned out that 91% of the respondents rated a 7 or higher, indicatin

g that the attendees valued the training enough to pay $250 for a full day course (opposed to $600 for most GIS courses).  This means it is possible to offer really good, low cost training to GIS professionals.  Keep an eye out on this, as I am very likely to take these training classes on the road.

FullSizeRender (1)The comments the participants provided were great – in  fact, the response was slightly higher than the response at the TuGIS conference.

The course evaluation will have lots of free-form comments you can read, but a couple of the ones I liked were:

One of the most valuable pieces of this workshop was how it drove home the fact that Spatial SQL is not as intimidating as it may seem. Going over the basic SQL functions and how closely it reads to standard english was very helpful in driving this home.

Gave me a much stronger foundation for SQL, the instructor was extremely knowledgeable and presented the information well. I am so happy to have a stronger understanding and feel this will help me immediately in my job.

Dr. Lembo was very effective in showing the analytical framework behind the use of SQL in the development of databases, geometric layers, and even modeling. He was really good in putting it all together; I had little exposure to SQL before the class, and now I feel confident on how to approach it to solve problems I encounter in my job.

More geocoding with Radian

radianintegrationI want to continue adding more nuances to my previous geocoding post here.  In this post, I wanted to show you how I am using Radian to call SQL Server to perform data selection, A Radian function to modify the data coming back from SQL Server, Google’s geocoding API to get X,Y coordinates from an address string, and then another Radian function to convert the geocoded coordinates into a geometry object.



if you want to learn more about writing SQL queries in SQL Server, Radian, or Postgres, check out the training classes at

Geocoding with Radian Studio

Recently my students and I wrote a paper on geocoding with different Python tools here. While that was really fun, it does take a bit of work to write the code.  As you know, I’m partial to doing anything I can with SQL.  My attempts to build geocoding into PostgreSQL has not been very successful, although my friends who use Linux versions have had better success.

So, I was really happy to see that Radian built in many geocoding servers into their product, and the functionality is accessible via SQL.   The following video shows how to use the Google geocoder through Radian, and I’ve added a little wrinkle: some of the locations are straight addresses, while others are intersections.  Using a very simple CASE statement, the addresses geocode effortlessly.  Check it out, and let me know what you think.

if you are interested in learning how to use Radian Studio, check out where I have 9 different training courses in geospatial technology. 

Review of An Introduction to Statistical Problem Solving in Geography

bookcoverI was just recently sent a review of my book An Introduction to Statistical Problem Solving in Geography.  If you are thinking about a good introductory text on quantitative geography, this review will give you a good idea of what the book is about.

Also, for a limited time, you can get my online version of the course for $30 here.  That’s 12 hours of lectures, explanations, and hands-on demonstrations – these are similar to the lectures I give in my University course (although somewhat abbreviated).  So, if you want apply quantitative geographic theory in your GIS work, this is a great way to learn.

Cartography in ArcGIS and QGIS

meghanToday I want to introduce you to another one of my students, Meghan Murphy.  Meghan is an outstanding student, and one of the top undergraduates I have ever worked with (I know, I say that a lot, but they just keep getting better and better).  Even as a Sophomore, Meghan was always helping other students out, even the Seniors – students would seem to wait for Meghan to organize everyone together to study for upcoming exams.

She also has an innate ability to work with GIS, and pick up new things: one day she has never programmed in Python, and the next day, she has a couple of hundred line Python script created and running in ArcGIS!  So, I was so happy when Meghan said she wanted to take a special course in Open Source GIS that I was offering this semester.  We covered QGIS, Postgres/PostGIS, GDAL, and Geoserver.  For her final project, Meghan decided she wanted to compare the cartography capabilities of ArcGIS and QGIS, and make a video about it (maybe she was inspired by my videos, or maybe she just figured after watching Lembo’s videos, how could I do worse!).

Whatever her reason, like everything else she does, this turned out great, especially since she had never done a live tutorial like this.  So, I encourage you to watch the side-by-side comparisons for creating a basic cartographic product in both ArcGIS and QGIS.  It’s about 40 minutes long, but worth every minute: I found that I learned some things I hadn’t known regarding some cartographic tools.  And, on that note, I’ll have more videos from my undergraduates shortly (some built web maps, others built an enterprise GIS with Postgres.

If you want to learn more about open source GIS, Python programming, Spatial SQL, or Spatial Statistics, check out my online courses at